Sydney Gardens is one of Britain’s best remaining Georgian Pleasure Gardens.
It opened in 1795 and was a favourite spot of Jane Austen. Now it is enjoyed by visitors and locals alike as a respite from the busyness of central Bath - it is a short walk from the city centre and situated behind the Holburne Museum.
The park is an ideal place for a picnic or a dog walk, and has direct access onto the Kennet and Avon Canal. The Great Western Railway also runs through Sydney Gardens making it an ideal place for trainspotting. You can watch canal boats and trains passing through, spend time with the beautiful historic trees, explore the central promenade and its listed buildings including the Loggia, an original feature of the 18th Century Gardens, and the Temple of Minerva which was added in the early 20th Century.
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Read our latest e-newsletter (April 21)
Find out about Events and Activities in Sydney Gardens.
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Sydney Gardens is currently undergoing a park restoration project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and B&NES Council. Construction began in August and will continue until the end of 2021.
Please help us keep everyone safe by following the instructions of our contractors and staying out of fenced off areas.
Some areas of the park are closed to the public during the works. Occasionally we need to close some entrances without warning for vehicle movements and deliveries.
What facilities are there?
Lawns to play on, including a felled London Plane Tree Trunk for children to climb and play on.
Children’s Play Area is closed. The nearest play areas are Widcombe BA2 4JN (12 mins walk from Sydney Gardens) or Hedgemead BA1 5NB (17 mins walk). A new multi-age play and sport area will open late in 2021.
Public Toilets are currently closed and have been replaced by a Portaloo nearby - it is free of charge but closed overnight.
Tennis courts - the two courts at the top of the park have now been partially refurbished and are open for ‘turn-up and play’ using temporary markings until the Spring. Once the weather is warmer and drier, the courts will have their final coat of paint and new gates will be installed. The lower three tennis courts have been closed to create the construction compound and will re-open as two full size courts on completion of the build at the end of 2021.
Sydney Gardens Park Restoration Project
In February 2019 we were successful in our Round 2 application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund with a £2.7 million grant. We have secured a total of £3.4 million of funding to improve the historic park. Find out more about the Sydney Gardens National Lottery Heritage Lottery Funded Project.
The funding is being used to restore historic buildings, invest in landscaping works, renovate the play area for use by people of all ages and create new gardens alongside a programme of events and activities. The project will celebrate the fascinating history of the gardens, with its Cosmorama, Labyrinth, Merlins Swing, Concerts, Public Breakfasts, Galas and Illuminations.
Our project started the 3 year Delivery Phase on 1st February 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected our programme, delaying the start of our restoration project by 6 months and we anticipate it will continue to affect our schedule. We are aiming to complete works by the end of 2021.
2019: Detailed technical design, programming of works, with public events, activities, training and volunteering.
2020: Delivery of restoration, building works and landscaping, volunteering, training, and designing interpretation.
2021: Continued delivery of the restoration and build with accompanying volunteer and training programme, activities and partnership events.
March 2022: Completion of the project.
What is happening now?
Our build and conservation project started in August 2020 and will continue for over a year until the end of 2021. Our appointed site contractors are:
- Edgar Builders for the Main Works Contract including the Community Pavilion, The Bothy, Tennis courts, and new Play area with Parsons Landscapes as the subcontractor for landscaping works.
- Sally Strachey Historic Conservation for the Conservation Works Contract for restoration of the Loggia, Temple of Minerva, Ruin (in the former depot area), and Kiosk, with IronArt Bath as a subcontractor doing the Ironwork Edwardian and 1920s WCs.
Read our latest e-newsletter (April 21)
Activities, events and volunteering in Sydney Gardens
We are running a programme of activities for people of all ages and needs over our three year project from 2019 to 2022.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we cancelled all our public activities that we had planned from March 2020. We have redesigned some of our activities, training and volunteering to be delivered online or in smaller groups, and we will continue to do this in response to government guidance. We are now gradually restarting our activity programme over the Spring of 2021.
Get involved and keep in touch
Sign up to our mailing list to hear about upcoming events and activities, project update and about consultation events.
Contact our Community Ranger Sue Palmer with any comments or questions.
Read fascinating stories from Sydney Gardens on our Medium blog
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